General practice pharmacists in Australia: A systematic review
Background: The inclusion of pharmacists into general practices in Australia has expanded in recent years. This systematic review aimed to synthesise the literature of qualitative and quantitative studies, and identify the knowledge gaps, related to pharmacists working in general practice in Australia.
Methods: This systematic review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. PubMed, EBSCOhost, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library were searched from the inception of databases to January 2021. The search was focused on studies investigating general practice pharmacists in Australia. The quality of each study was appraised using the Mixed Method Appraisal Tool criteria. The narrative synthesis approach was utilised to describe data due to the heterogeneity among study designs and measures.
Results: Twenty-five studies were included in this review. General practice pharmacists engaged in various non-dispensing patient care services, with medication management reviews being the primary activity reported. General practice pharmacists' characteristics and an environment with a willingness of collaboration were the notable influencing factors for successfully including pharmacists in general practices. Factors that posed a challenge to the adoption of general practice pharmacists were lack of funding and other resources, poorly defined roles, and absence of mentoring/training.
Conclusion: This review has summarised the characteristics, activities, benefits, barriers, and facilitators of including pharmacists in general practices in Australia. General practice pharmacists are well accepted by stakeholders, and they can engage in a range of patient-centred activities to benefit patients. There is a need for more robust research to explore the patient and economic outcomes related to clinical activities that a pharmacist can perform in general practice, as a foundation to developing an appropriate and sustainable funding model. The findings of this review will be beneficial for pharmacists, researchers, policymakers, and readers who wish to implement the role of general practice pharmacists in the future.
Publication titlePLoS One
Department/SchoolSchool of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
PublisherPublic Library of Science
Place of publicationUnited States
Rights statementCopyright: © 2021 Sudeshika et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.